Each of us has our own perspective on Mother’s Day. You may reflect on the experience of your own mother or your journey of being a mother. The two characteristics I celebrate most on Mother’s Day are tender nurture and tenacious strength. Growing up I felt my Mom’s tender nurture through lovingly prepared home cooked dinners and exquisitely sewn dresses but now just the sound of her voice on the phone is enough to make me feel that all is right in the world. Tenacious strength ran through many of the women in my family but I think particularly of my Great Grandmother Harrison. Her husband died of the flu in 1904 and left her to raise four children (ages 2, 4, 6, 8) at the age of 29. She taught piano lessons in her home and by some miracle all four graduated college, some with advanced degrees. Now that woman was tenaciously strong!
But these traits are not limited to relationships of biology. When my own son was about 4, two of my single women friends flew in for Halloween and became surrogate aunts to my son. Their loving nurture of him was astounding and even when he was a college student, one of them flew in to take him to lunch. He treasures her friendship and tender nurture. My brother-in-law who has no children has been a tenacious advocate for and friend to my grandson with autism. His tenacious strength has empowered little Jacob to grow and thrive. And I watch inside our church as so many of you reach out to one another with extraordinary grace, hospitality, and lavish kindness, becoming like family to each other.
When I was a pre-teen I rode my bike to the gift shop and bought my mother a small stained glass knickknack for Mother’s Day. My mother was not really into knickknacks with sweet sayings so then I felt kinda bad. She might not like it. But this one she placed in the kitchen window and left it there for many years. It said: God couldn’t be everywhere so God created mothers. So on this weekend we celebrate all the ways in which human beings offer themselves as the hands and feet of the living God.